Sony launches smartphones more regularly than many of its rivals so it will come as no surprise that the company announced a trio of devices at Mobile World Congress. It is a mobile show after all.

For those that were expecting the next Xperia flagship, you would perhaps have been disappointed but that's not to say the new Xperia X range isn't exciting. In fact, the three devices probably tell us more about what to expect from the next Xperia flagship design-wise when it arrives later this year than you'd initially think.

The Sony Xperia X is the middling device within the X series that sits above the M series and below the Z series, the latter of which will be no more so technically the X series is the new Z series. Here are our first impressions the Xperia X.

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The Sony Xperia X looks very similar in terms of design to the current flagship - the Xperia Z5. The same OmniBalance design is present but Sony has changed the tempered glass found on the rear of the Z5 to a metal finish for the X and it looks great. The front has a glass finish so it isn't an all metal device but it's a good look.

The smooth, curved edges remain, along with the oblong side power button that was introduced in place of the circular button for the Z5. Like the flagship, the Xperia X also comes with a fingerprint sensor, along with the dedicated camera button and separate volume controls.

The Xperia X is familiar. For those that love the Z5 design, the Xperia X won't disappoint. It feels a little smaller in the hand and perhaps more manageable than the flagship but it is essentially the Z5 but in different colours with a slight change in materials and a couple of small refinements. 

The Xperia X is slender and the metallic finish of each of the four colours is lovely. It feels well-built and more premium than the mid-range offering. For a device that isn't flagship, the Xperia X's design allows it to easily pass as it.

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The Sony Xperia X comes with a 5-inch Full HD display, meaning it is a little smaller than the flagship Z5. This is more than likely why the handset feels a little more slender and comfortable to hold.

Many of Sony's technologies are on board, including Triluminos and X-Reality, both of which are found in the flagship. The viewing angles seemed good from our brief amount of time with the Xperia X, although the display wasn't quite as bright and vibrant as we'd hope for.

It is worth mentioning that the devices we saw weren't final and the conditions of a trade show are certainly not ideal for testing displays. We will therefore leave the passing of judgement until we review the Xperia X in full.

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Sony has placed a big focus on the X series still offering the best camera technology it provides, despite it not hitting flagship status. It therefore comes with a 23-megapixel rear sensor, which is the same as is offered in the Z5. It offers sensitivity up to ISO 12800, like the flagship, and there is also 5x Clear Image Zoom on board.

Additionally, Sony has introduced a feature it is calling Predictive Hybrid Autofocus, whereby the camera will predict and track motion so make sure you never miss a moment. There was a demo at Mobile World Congress presenting how this feature works and although it seemed great, it is something we will be testing in the real world.

On the front of the X is a 13-megapixel sensor that offers sensitivity up to 6400. It has a 22mm wide-angle lens and auto focus too. The cameras aren't something we can test at a trade show as we mentioned, but we will be sure to put both through their paces when we review the device in full.

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The Sony Xperia X comes with the hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 processor, supported by 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. There is also microSD support for storage expansion.

Like the camera and display, performance is almost impossible to test without having the device in for review, especially when the demo handsets don't feature final software. The operation did seem slick and smooth though so hopefully that will be the case outside of the trade show walls too.

Sony is known for offering good battery life on its devices and it looks like the Xperia X will also follow that path. There is a 2620mAh battery under the hood, which is only slightly smaller than the Z5. Sony claims it will offer two days battery life thanks to special management software.

The Xperia X also offers Hi-Res audio support, which is found in the Z5 too, and there is digital noise cancelling on board as well.

The Sony Xperia X will launch on 20 May featuring Android Marshmallow with Sony's software layered over the top.

Many of the same features present on the Xperia Z5 will be available on the Xperia X but as final software was not on the device we saw, we won't dive into too much detail.

Sony has said the PS4 Remote Play feature will definitely be on board though so anyone with a PlayStation 4 will benefit. 

First Impressions

The Sony Xperia X is a lovely looking smartphone that brings a premium appeal. It's not super cheap at £499, but it is nice.

It has a great finish with a slender design but it doesn't stray from the look Sony smartphones are associated with, which is good. These are subtle changes, but we think this series is a teaser for the next Xperia flagship design.

Don't be mistaken into thinking "not another Sony smartphone" because the Xperia X is more exciting than you'd first think.